FRIDAY FOCUS: Casper Businessman’s Longshot Bid for U.S. Senate (Part 2)

Reid Rasner challenges Sen. John Barrasso in the GOP primary, aligns with Wyoming Freedom Caucus on policy matters

  • Published In: Columns
  • Last Updated: Aug 20, 2023

Reid Rasner, a Casper businessman seeking the 2024 GOP Senate nomination, has aligned himself with the Wyoming Freedom Caucus, pursuing deeply conservative social policies and an isolationist approach to foreign affairs. (Photo via Facebook / ReidRasnerWy)

By Jacob Gardenswartz

Special to the Wyoming Truth

Reid Rasner’s candidacy for the 2024 GOP Senate nomination epitomizes Wyoming’s rightward trend since the election of former President Donald Trump.

The Casper businessman claims incumbent Sen. John Barrasso — by all accounts a top antagonist of the Biden administration — has been too liberal on key policy issues, pledging to push even harder for conservative, isolationist social and foreign policy positions.

The Wyoming Truth recently spoke with Rasner about his candidacy and how he’d approach governing should he win the GOP nomination; part oneof that conversation focused on Rasner’s background and reason for running. Below are excerpts from part two of the conversation, which covers his views on key policy and political issues.

How should abortion access be treated within Wyoming?

Rasner: I’m 100% pro-life. And my stance on this is that birth begins at conception. So I do not believe in abortion. It’s a pretty simple stance I take, and it’s pretty hard-edge.

There’s been debate in the state legislature recently about whether there should be any exceptions to proposed abortion bans, such as in cases of rape or incest. Where do you fall?

Rasner: I don’t know what the state legislature is going to do. But I will work closely with them and monitor the situation. And I don’t know what the courts are going to do. But I’m pro-life, and I believe that life begins at conception.

Would you support a nationwide abortion ban at the federal level, as some Republican lawmakers have proposed?

Rasner: I would be fine with legislating a nationwide abortion ban.

How would you differ from Senator Barrasso in your approach to energy and environment issues?

Rasner: It’s really so it’s imperative at the federal level that the lease sales and the auctions actually take place. The Department of Interior holds the lease sales on federal land, and since Biden has taken over, they’ve only had two or three actual federal lease sales. Wyoming cannot drill for oil without those leases. And the Department of Interior is actually breaking the law — someone has to be accountable.

A huge problem over the past 20 years during John Barrasso’s reign has been accountability. No one has been held accountable or held to task. The bureaucrats in Washington are acting like they’re the lawmakers, and they are the judge, jury and the end-all be-all.

How do you balance your support for the oil and gas industry with the ongoing push for renewable energy development?

Rasner: First and foremost, I am for oil and gas production in Wyoming. It has and will continue to sustain the state. When we look at what the governor is doing and we look at what John is doing, there are huge swathes of farm and ranch land being bought by Bill Gates, which then is being lined up for new nuclear power in Wyoming and the closure of our power facilities, which I am completely against right now. And as far as renewable energy, I would prioritize oil, gas and coal over renewable energy right now.

Who do you think is the greatest foreign threat to the United States right now? And what do you think the country should do differently, if anything, to respond?

Rasner: China. And I believe what Donald Trump is saying: putting tariffs on China and restricting China in our technology sector and protecting our interests in Taiwan are crucial.

Secondly, we have John Barrasso and the majority of the senate right now sending nearly a quarter trillion dollars to Ukraine with absolutely zero accountability of where the money is going or what is being spent on. Which is fiscally irresponsible, and just adding to the bottom line of our debt… They just are voting to send money overseas and fight a war that isn’t ours.

Should the U.S. be providing any military assistance to Ukraine to counter Russian aggression?

Rasner: I would stop all assistance to Ukraine. I don’t see America’s interest in Ukraine, and John Barrasso not only vigorously supports Ukraine and sending our money and our troops over there, he actually and literally traveled over to Ukraine and met with Zelensky. He pinned a Ukrainian flag on his chest, and he sat through a dictator’s speech in the people’s house of Congress. And then the dictator asked for more money, and John Barrasso went and voted to give that dictator more money.

Russia is not an ally of ours, but we have no interest in Ukraine.

Just to clarify, the “dictator” you’re referring to is Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky?

Rasner: Correct.

The 2024 presidential race is well underway, and the leading GOP candidate is facing multiple indictments, including 37 felony counts in the classified documents case. What are your thoughts on the investigations into Donald Trump?

Rasner: It’s actually surprising that John Barrasso and the rest of the leadership — besides Harriet Hageman, she’s come out and said it — have not held the Department of Justice to task. Merrick Garland should be impeached. And John Barrasso and [Sen.] Cynthia Lummis should be championing that impeachment right now. The Justice Department cannot be held against our political opponents and indicting our political opponents during election years. He’s a leading Republican candidate for the nomination for president of the United States. And for nearly a decade, the Democrats have come at him with the ‘Russia Russia Russia hoax,’ just hoax after hoax after hoax.

We have a president who was all within all of his rights to take the documents home and have the documents. And now because he didn’t cross a T or dot an I or sign off on it when he took the documents, the Department of Justice is going to charge him . . . . It’s a huge publicity stunt. And they’re weaponizing the Department of Justice. John Barrasso is truly hurting our country and our state’s interests by not coming out and speaking out against it.

There was also the recent indictment pertaining to Trump’s actions around the Jan. 6 attack. Do you believe the former president’s conduct was justified?

Rasner:  . . . He did not incite the violence. It was big tech — which again, big tech should be held accountable and attacked on their part in this — which censored his tweet and deleted it and banned his account so no one can read his tweet. But he did make statements. And I believe these are bogus charges.

It’s January 3, 2025, and you’ve just been sworn in as the newest United States Senator from Wyoming. What’s the first thing you would do?

Rasner: I’d begin work on term limits.

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